Prenatal pesticide exposure and respiratory health outcomes in the first year of life: Results from the infants’ Environmental Health (ISA) study

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Abstract

Background: Growing evidence suggests that pesticide exposure may influence respiratory health, but data in young children are very limited. We examined the association of prenatal pesticide exposure with lower respiratory tract infections (LRTIs) and wheeze at one year of age in children from the Infants' Environmental Health (ISA) study in Costa Rica. Methods: We measured seven pesticide metabolites, including ethylenethiourea (ETU, metabolite of mancozeb), in maternal urine samples collected repeatedly during pregnancy. For each woman, we averaged pesticide concentrations during each half of pregnancy (≤20 and >20 weeks of gestation) and across repeated samples collected over the course of pregnancy. We collected information about LRTIs (n = 355) and wheezing (n = 272) during the first year of life from mothers when their children were 11–19 months old. We fit multivariable logistic regression models using high (quartile 4) vs. low (quartiles 1–3) urinary pesticide concentrations as exposures and adjusted models for maternal age, education, parity, gestational age at birth, and child sex. Results: Ten percent of the children had at least one LRTI and 39% had at least one episode of wheezing during their first year of life. Median (25-75th percentile) specific gravity-corrected urinary ETU concentrations during the first half, second half, and over the course of pregnancy were 3.4 (2.1–5.0), 3.3 (2.2–4.7), and 3.4 (2.4–5.0) ng/mL, respectively. We observed that high urinary ETU concentrations during the first half of pregnancy were associated with increased odds of LRTI (OR = 2.45; 95% CI: 0.96, 6.26), whereas high urinary ETU concentrations during the second half of pregnancy were associated with decreased odds of wheezing (OR = 0.50; 95% CI: 0.26, 0.96). We found that the association between high urinary ETU concentrations during the first half of pregnancy and LRTIs persisted among mother-child pairs with either high or low ETU concentrations during the second half. In contrast, the association of high urinary ETU concentrations during the second half of pregnancy with wheezing was attenuated when we simultaneously adjusted for urinary ETU concentrations during the first half. We observed null associations between other pesticide metabolites measured during pregnancy and respiratory outcomes. Conclusions: Our data indicate that exposure to mancozeb/ETU during the first half of pregnancy may be associated with respiratory outcomes in the first year of life.

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Mora, A. M., Hoppin, J. A., Córdoba, L., Cano, J. C., Soto-Martínez, M., Eskenazi, B., … van Wendel de Joode, B. (2020). Prenatal pesticide exposure and respiratory health outcomes in the first year of life: Results from the infants’ Environmental Health (ISA) study. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, 225. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijheh.2020.113474

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